“London concert-goers are lucky to have concerts as creative as this.”
Widely praised for its imaginative and adventurous programming, the London Philharmonic Orchestra has announced its 2016/17 London season with a typically wide-ranging and ambitious programme of concerts, education initiatives, touring and recording projects.
Under the leadership of the Orchestra’s Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Timothy Walker, the LPO continues to build on its reputation as one of the world’s leading orchestras. As the bold, new-look season brochure makes clear, the Orchestra is not only passionate about what it does but it’s also one of the busiest and most impactful artistic organisations in the country. The LPO last year:
“The London Philharmonic Orchestra’s new season reflects our continual commitment to the highest artistic standards combined with programming that inspires us and our audiences. Whether it’s live in the world’s concert halls, our numerous education projects or recordings, the LPO is dedicated to bringing audiences the unmatchable power of classical music.”
BELIEF AND BEYOND BELIEF
London Philharmonic Orchestra dedicates most of its concerts in 2017 to Belief and Beyond Belief; a year-long multi-artform Southbank Centre festival of music, literature, performance, exhibitions and debates exploring belief, and what it is to be human in the 21st century.
Following the huge success of The Rest Is Noise in 2013, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Vladimir Jurowski and the LPO provide the classical music backbone of the festival with 15 concerts built around five specially-themed weekends: ‘Meaning’, ‘Science’, ‘Death’, ‘Ideology’ and ‘Society’ as revealed in works ranging from Haydn’s The Creation to John Adams’s Harmonielehre.
Alongside the concerts, the weekends will include a wide range of performances, lectures, debates and literary events which investigate the struggle to define the absolute, from the writings of Richard Dawkins to Jeanette Winterson, and from Tagore to Primo Levi. (Speakers will be confirmed later.) From Haydn to Strauss, from Kancheli to Glass, Belief and Beyond Belief looks at music that speaks of the Divine and what it means to be human in the 21st century.
Vladimir Jurowski, Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor, said:
“The belief in something greater than ourselves has preoccupied humanity for centuries. In this festival of music inspired by spiritual belief we attempt to lay open the grandeur, enigma and conflict in our search for, and understanding of, the divine.”
Timothy Walker, Chief Executive and Artistic Director, said:
“If the last century was defined by battles between ideologies such as fascism and communism then it’s clear that the 21st century will be marked by conflicts over religious truths and extremism. By devoting a year of Royal Festival Hall performances to this festival, we hope to be part of a debate about belief and how composers have responded to, or against, God, spirituality and religion. By offering audiences the opportunity for personal exploration, to understand theirs and others’ belief or non-belief, to look beyond current prejudices and preconceptions, we hope to stimulate debate about what unites us in our understanding of what makes us human. Following the huge success of The Rest Is Noise in 2013, which drew record audiences, we are pleased to once again undertake an equally ambitious year-long, multi-artform festival with Southbank Centre.”
Opening the ‘Meaning’ weekend is a concert performance of Beethoven’s celebration of the indomitable nature of the human spirit, Fidelio, conducted by Jurowski with an all-star cast including, Anja Kampe, Michael König, Peter Rose and Christopher Purves (21 Jan). Jurowski then conducts a programme inviting audiences to discover different facets of the 20th century, with Kancheli’s Mourned by the Wind played by Kim Kashkashian, Martinů’s anguished Memorial to Lidice and Vaughan Williams’s poignant Symphony No. 9 (25 Jan).
The festival then moves to look at music and ‘Science’, with Jurowski conducting a programme of works that speak of the elements, creation and sky rockets from Rebel, Milhaud and John Adams (28 Jan) and Sir Roger Norrington taking a more classical approach conducting a stellar cast in Haydn’s The Creation (4 Feb). Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts two concerts around this theme: the first features works known from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey – Ligeti’s Atmosphères and Strauss’s powerful Also sprach Zarathustra (10 Feb), while the second explores 20th-century American innovators with Ives’s The Unanswered Question, John Adams’s dark and dazzling Doctor Atomic Symphony, and Philip Glass’s first work for full symphony orchestra The Light, written in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Michelson-Morley experiment on the properties of light (11 Feb). The FUNharmonics concert for families and young people takes science as its main theme with the first ever live science experiments with the orchestra (18 Feb).
Jurowski begins a series of concerts exploring death, loss and mourning by conducting Shostakovich’s darkly comical Symphony No. 15 in a programme that sees the welcome return of Patricia Kopatchinskaja performing Berg’s Violin Concerto – written “to the memory of an angel” and a rare outing for Denisov’s 1996 Symphony No. 2, written in the composer’s final year (22 Feb). Jurowski returns to the podium for another rarity, Penderecki’s 1966 masterpiece St Luke Passion, with narrator Omar Ebrahim, and soloists Elizabeth Atherton, Dietrich Henschel and Thomasz Konieczny (4 Mar). Two seminal works for tape and ensemble by Gavin Bryars explore death in its many guises: Jesus’ blood never failed me yet is coupled with The Sinking of the Titanic (15 Mar), before a concert featuring the UK Premiere of Magnus Lindberg’s Cello Concerto No. 2 and Bruckner Symphony No. 9 conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste (22 Mar). The final concert in the ‘Death’ series explores the afterlife from two contrasting perspectives, with Mozart’s Requiem and Richard Strauss’s Death and Transfiguration, conducted by Nathalie Stutzmann (25 Mar).
Jurowski conducts a glittering cast in Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’, No. 8, with Tallis’s 40-part Spem in Alium opening the concert as part of the ‘Ideology’ series (8 Apr). The theme continues for Marek Janowski’s concert, with Wagner as the main focus, conducting instrumental music from Die fliegender Holländer and Die Walküre. Bruckner called Wagner his “beloved Master” and his dream-inspired Symphony No. 7 also features (26 Apr). Strauss’s Four Last Songs – one of music’s most poignant and personal farewells – is sung by soprano Angel Blue alongside excerpts from Parsifal in a concert exploring music that strives for transcendence. John Mauceri also conducts Schoenberg’s exquisite homage to Bach, the Prelude and Fugue in E flat major (St Anne), and Hindemith’s extraordinary musical vision of the miracles of St Francis in the Nobilissima Visione suite (28 Apr).
The final Belief and Beyond Belief theme, ‘Society’ for the 2016/17 season, is exemplified by Beethoven’s life-affirming work of hope and humanity, his Ninth ‘Choral’ symphony – ‘a kiss for all the world’ as the composer puts it – conducted by Christoph Eschenbach (6 May).
Further programme information for Belief and Beyond Belief in the latter part of 2017 will be announced at a later date.
The Orchestra’s participation in Belief and Beyond Belief has been made possible by contributions to our Arts Council Catalyst Endowment. We thank all our donors as we embark on this ambitious project with Southbank Centre.
Principal Guest Conductor Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducts four concerts in the new season. The first opens with Barber’s Art Deco Overture from The School for Scandal, and continues on a similarly jazzy theme with Gershwin’s An American in Paris and the World Premiere of jazz legend Wayne Shorter’s Clarinet Concerto commissioned by the LPO and argovia philharmonic performed by Julian Bliss (30 Nov). In a concert buzzing with Romantic energy later in the week, Orozco-Estrada conducts Weber’s Overture to Euryanthe, Beethoven’s Symphony No.3 (Eroica) and is joined by Hilary Hahn for Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 (2 Dec).
Orozco-Estrada returns to conduct two concerts in February as part of the Belief and Beyond Belief ‘Science’ weekend. The first includes two works featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey – Ligeti’s Atmosphères and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra (10 Feb) – and the second is a concert of 20th century American innovators, featuring Ives’s The Unanswered Question, the UK premiere of Aaron Jay Kernis’s Flute Concerto for Marina Piccini, John Adams’s Doctor Atomic symphony and Philip Glass’s The Light, written in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Michelson-Morley experiment on the properties of light (11 Feb).
OSMO VÄNSKÄ’S SIBELIUS SYMPHONY CYCLE
Osmo Vänskä – described by the Daily Telegraph as “one of the greatest living Sibelius conductors” and a regular guest with LPO – leads a chronological Sibelius symphony cycle over four consecutive concerts in October. The symphonies are coupled with renowned British concertos from the first half of the 20th century by Elgar, Britten, Walton and Vaughan Williams.
Vänskä opens the cycle with Sibelius’s Karelia Suite and Symphony No. 1 with the Dutch violinist Simone Lamsma performing Britten’s evocative Violin Concerto (19 Oct). The ever-popular Second Symphony and classically energised Third appear with Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending, performed by 2015 Singapore International Violin Competition winner Yu-Chien Tseng (21 Oct). The bleak Fourth and triumphant Fifth are set alongside Elgar’s Cello Concerto, performed by Raphael Wallfisch (26 Oct). Vänskä brings the cycle to a close with the composer’s sparkling Tone Poem The Oceanides, Symphony No. 6 and the monumental Symphony No. 7 (28 Oct), paired with Walton’s Italian fantasy of a violin concerto, performed here by Tasmin Little.
One of the features of LPO’s 2016/17 season is the presentation of numerous large-scale choral works putting the spotlight on the London Philharmonic Choir and guest choirs from the UK and beyond.
Soloists Lucy Crowe, Allan Clayton, Paula Murrihy and Peter Rose join Sir Mark Elder for Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, a work “written from the heart – that it may go to the heart” (5 Nov). Beethoven’s Fidelio features in Belief and Beyond Belief (21 Jan) and as part of the ‘Science’ weekend, Sir Roger Norrington conducts Susan Gritton, Thomas Hobbs, Christopher Maltman and the London Philharmonic Choir in Haydn’s choral masterpiece The Creation (4 Feb).
A number of choral works take centre stage for the ‘Death’ weekends of Belief and Beyond Belief. Jurowski brings a rare performance of Penderecki’s 1966 masterpiece St Luke Passion, with narrator Omar Ebrahim and soloists Elizabeth Atherton, Dietrich Henschel and Tomasz Konieczny (4 Mar) and Nathalie Stutzmann brings her experience as a singer to conduct Mozart’s Requiem with Kateryna Kasper, Leon Kosavic, Sara Mingardo and Robin Tritschler (25 Mar).
Mahler’s ‘Symphony of a Thousand’ continues Jurowski’s ongoing Mahler symphonic cycle with the LPO, in a work in which the composer said we should imagine “the whole universe beginning to ring and resound”, a concept easily felt with Tallis’s monumental 40-part motet Spem in Alium which opens the concert (8 Apr). Christoph Eschenbach concludes the celebration of choral masterpieces, returning to conduct a new work by Composer in Residence Magnus LindbergBeethoven’s life-affirming ‘Choral’ Symphony No. 9 (6 May).
OUTSIDE THE SYMPHONY
The new season includes a number of less traditional concerts for the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Following her acclaimed performance in the Orchestra’s 2013 concert version of Kurt Weill’s The Threepenny Opera, cabaret sensation Meow Meow and members of Pink Martini join the London Philharmonic Orchestra for a whirlwind tour of cabaret history featuring Piazzolla, Weill, Brecht, Brel, Radiohead and original chansons from the singer herself (1 Nov).
Two seminal works for tape and ensemble by Gavin Bryars take centre stage exploring death in its many guises. Jesus’ blood never failed me yet – shortlisted for the 1993 Mercury Prize – is coupled with The Sinking of the Titanic. The concert, performed by members of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, concludes with Steve Reich’s hugely popular Music for Eighteen Musicians (15 Mar).
The LPO takes centre stage in Southbank Centre’s Film Music series, performing soundtracks to iconic films such as Brief Encounter, Psycho and 2001: A Space Odyssey, building on its strong film music heritage (14 Feb, 23 Jun, 2 Oct).
OUTSIDE THE ROYAL FESTIVAL HALL
The London Philharmonic Orchestra continues its residencies at Brighton, Eastbourne and Glyndebourne where this year it performs Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, Berlioz’s Béatrice et Bénédict and Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The Orchestra continues to tour extensively, visiting Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and USA in 2016/17. The LPO has always made touring a priority and in its 83-year history has visited 302 cities worldwide.
LPO will record a selection of concerts to be released on its own label, as well as streamed on its website and live on BBC Radio 3. LPO Live has released 94 recordings since its launch in 2005, almost ten a year.
The ever-popular FUNharmonics series for children and families opens with a magical concert inspired by the LPO’s autumn Sibelius celebrations, exploring the weird and wonderful folklore from Finland, Norway and beyond (9 Oct). As part of Belief and Beyond Belief’s ‘Science’ weekend, music meets science as the secrets behind the extraordinary sounds of the Orchestra are explored with on-stage experiments (18 Feb). The final concert of the series gives families a chance to ‘jump on board the tour bus’ with the LPO, exploring the music of some of the amazing cities the LPO visits across the world each year (30 Apr).
The LPO continues its dynamic education and community programme, which annually reaches over 33,000 people from 5 years and upwards, focussing on supporting schools, local communities and emerging professionals. The Orchestra works closely with the South Riverside Music Partnership uniting the music services of Southwark, Lambeth, Lewisham and Royal Greenwich in which boroughs it delivers projects aimed to place world-class music and musicians at the heart of individual daily lives.
Through its schools work, the LPO brings the national curriculum to life through a number of projects including: BrightSparks concerts for over 12,000 young people; a composition project for GCSE level students, New Horizons, which provides a sought-after opportunity to compose and perform alongside LPO players on the Royal Festival Hall stage; and the innovative Creative Classrooms project offering direct professional development for Primary teachers and LPO players inspiring a new generation of music-lovers and deepening professional skills in delivering music within the classroom.
Within local communities, the LPO is proud to work with a range of partners and participants. Listed are some current projects: JTI Cross Partner project which aims to broaden access to the arts for groups of disadvantaged adults; beyond the classroom, an award-winning partnership with Trinity Laban through the Animate programme working with young people from its four boroughs to create music with the LPO and visit the orchestra at its home, the Royal Festival Hall; and LPO Soundworks, a creative community for young composers and instrumentalists aged 14 – 19 who team up with similar groups from dance and theatre to create cross-platform interdisciplinary performances.
For emerging professional musicians, the LPO has two groundbreaking projects that act as a catalyst for exceptional musicians at the start of their careers. Foyle Future Firsts Development Programme bridges the transition between college and the professional platform for up to 16 outstanding young players, offering a chance to attend rehearsals, receive lessons and play side-by-side with LPO players, as well as the opportunity to take part in Education and Community projects; and, the Young Composers scheme, which selects five young composers to provide them with an opportunity to workshop and compose a new work for the combined forces of the Foyle Future Firsts and members of the LPO, all led by Composer in Residence, Magnus Lindberg. The LPO have secured a three year-funding partnership with the Leverhulme Trust for this programme; the composers will be known throughout this period as Leverhulme Arts Scholars. The Adam Mickiewicz Institute will continue to fund a place for a Polish composer on the scheme.
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The London Philharmonic Orchestra is one of the world’s finest symphony orchestras, balancing a long and distinguished history with a reputation as one of the UK’s most adventurous and forward-looking orchestras.
It was founded in 1932 by Sir Thomas Beecham. Since then it has been headed by many of the great names in the conducting world, including Sir Adrian Boult, Bernard Haitink, Sir Georg Solti, Klaus Tennstedt and Kurt Masur. Vladimir Jurowski became the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor in 2007. Andrés Orozco-Estrada became Principal Guest Conductor in September 2015 and Magnus Lindberg is the Orchestra’s current Composer in Residence.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra has been performing at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall since it opened in 1951, becoming Resident Orchestra in 1992. It also has residencies in Brighton, Eastbourne and Glyndebourne, and performs regularly around the UK. The Orchestra frequently tours abroad: highlights of the 2015/16 season included visits to Mexico, Spain, Germany, Canary Islands, Belgium and the Orchestra’s first visit to La Scala, Milan.
Reaching around 2.5 million people annually, the LPO broadcasts regularly on television and radio, and has recorded soundtracks for numerous films including The Lord of the Rings trilogy. In 2005 it began releasing live, studio and archive recordings on its own CD label.
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